Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Mooney Expects Better Performance At No. 4 Virginia On Saturday

February 14, 2019

Notre Dame lacked effort and heart in January when Virginia crushed the Irish 82-55 at Purcell Pavilion. 

Captain John Mooney believes Saturday’s game in Charlottesville will be different as the Irish haven’t forgotten what happened. 

“We weren’t pleased with our performance when they came here,” stated Mooney. “It gives us a chip on our shoulder to go out and get some revenge. We want to prove to ourselves and those watching that we’re a lot better than that.” 

Notre Dame shot just 36% from the field, 27% from three-point range and just 37% from the free throw line in the loss, which is even a low bar for the struggling Irish offense. The Irish were also out-rebounded by 12 and simply looked like they didn’t want to be on the floor. 

“Virginia put it on us the last time we played,” said Mooney. “It’s a matter of bouncing back and that’s been our theme this week. We’re a confident group right now coming off a win last weekend. It’s a matter of keeping it rolling and staying confident.”  

The Irish have played better in February and Mooney would love to get back-to-back for the first time since December.

“We have to keep up with it,” explained Mooney. “We don’t want to be that team who wins one and loses one. We want to keep up a consistent flow. We’re getting better as the season has gone on. We have to stay confident and be ready on Saturday.

“We’re 2-1 and February in arguably the best conference in America. We have to keep it rolling. We talked about how in January guys showed flashes of putting it together. We’re getting better in that regard and it’s a matter of taking it to the next level.” 

Mooney has led the charge for the Irish this season on both ends of the floor. The junior forward has pulled down 12.6 rebounds per game in ACC play and would be the first ACC player to average more over 12.4 rebounds per game since Tim Duncan averaged 14.9 in 1997. 

The Orlando native is also averaging 14.2 points a game and the Irish would love to see someone else consistently score with Mooney.

“Offensively, we’re better and starting to click a little bit more,” explained Mooney. “We’re flowing a little better and guys are moving without the ball better. Defensively, we’ve been pretty steady all year long. It’s a matter of keeping that up.” 

Mooney might be averaging a double-double, but the ACC weekly awards haven’t reflected any acknowledgment of his big season. 

“I don’t think he’s getting enough attention,” stated forward DJ Harvey. “There are a lot of people being considered to get the Most Improve ACC Player of the Year and he’s not up there where he should be, especially with what he’s been doing.

“I believe he’s going under the radar and he needs to get more appreciation for that.” 

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